"But Love, that moves the earth, and skies, and sea,
Beheld his old love in her misery,
And wrapped her heart in sudden gentle sleep;
And meanwhile caused unnumbered ants to creep
About her, and they wrought so busily
That all, ere sundown, was as it should be,
And homeward went again the kingless folk."
Other Addresses on Bible Animals.
Rev. JOHN ADAMS, B.D., Inverkeilor.
Edinburgh and London:
OLIPHANT, ANDERSON & FERRIER.
KINGLESS FOLK, The Ant
HOOKS OF STEEL, The Bear
THE SACRED BIRD, The Dove
LITTLE, BUT WISE, The Coney
CROWNED WITH HONOUR, The Ass's Colt
A BORN MATHEMATICIAN, The Bee
THE BIRD OF FREEDOM, The Swallow
A HOUSE OF GOSSAMER, The Spider
LITTLE FOLLIES, The Fly
PEARLS, NOT PEAS, The Pearl-Oyster
SOME OTHER SHELLS
CALVES OF THE STALL, The Calf
FUR OR FEATHER?, The Bat
ONWARD AND UPWARD, The Eagle
THE VICTOR VANQUISHED, The Lion
THE BIRD OF THE DAWN, The Cock-crowing
"Go to the ant, thou sluggard; consider her ways, and be wise: which having no guide, overseer, or ruler, provideth her meat in the summer, and gathereth her food in the harvest."—Prov. vi. 6-8.
Of what use is a sluggard? "Everything in the world is of some use," says John Ploughman, "but it would puzzle a doctor of divinity, or a philosopher, or the wisest owl in our steeple, to tell the good of idleness; that seems to me to be an ill wind which blows nobody any good, a sort of mud which breeds no eels, a dirty ditch which would not feed a frog. Sift a sluggard grain by grain, and you'll find him all chaff." A sluggard is really a good-for-nothing, and no better advice could be given to boys than this: "Get out of the sluggard's way, or you may catch his disease and never get rid of it. Grow up like bees, and you will never be drones."
In this passage from the Book of Proverbs, Solomon advises the sluggard to go back to school that he may learn wisdom, for his folly is quite equal to his idleness. He is too lazy to drive in a nail, and as the old jingling rhyme has it, "For want of a nail a shoe came off, for want of a shoe a horse was lost, for want of a horse a man was lost, for want of a man a battle was lost, and for loss of a battle a kingdom was lost." Because of the sluggard's first idleness in refusing to drive in the nail the whole kingdom comes down about his ears. It is not much ease he gets for all his scheming, and therefore he is sent back to school to learn wisdom.
The schoolmaster this time is the Ant, for, as the Bible tells us, "there be four things which are little upon the earth, but they are exceeding wise: the